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Thursday, May 29, 2014
Cosplayers And Fandom
Cosplayers are a special breed of fan. These are people who take their fandom to the next level. And I salute them for it. These are hard working people who spend a ton of time and their hard-earned money to showcase what they love.
If a man walks down the street dressed in a football jersey and matching pants and sneakers, we don’t blink twice and call him a fan. If the same man walks down the street in a Star Trek uniform, he is at best a geek and at worse crazy. Why is it socially more acceptable to be obsessed with a sports team than a TV show, movie, or book? I think it’s because they aren’t real but sports are.
Stories, however, are magical. Humans love stories and have been around as long as people have been able to communicate. Stories can change our outlook and our very lives. They can entertain, terrify, and inspire. They preserve history and culture, and transport readers to another world.
Can the same be said about sports? I’m not dissing sports or sports fans. There is something to be said for competition; not to mention the benefits that come from teamwork. Sports can also change lives, but it is usually for the person actually involved in them. Sports can give camaraderie to the people watching, bring a bar full of people together to cheer on the same team. As soon as you see someone in a jersey the same as your own or hear them root for your team, you know you have something in common.
But to me, sports don’t hold the same magic as stories do. So, I ask again, why is it socially more acceptable to be an obsessed sports fan than a TV/movie/book fan?
Cosplayers are willing to break that socially acceptable line. They are proud to show their support, and rightly so. Take a look at the photos from any of the conventions like DragonCon and San Diego Comic Con. For a moment, forget the characters. Just look, really look, at some of the costumes. Can you see the craftsmanship that went into some of these? Some of these are not well-known, common characters, so you can be pretty sure it wasn’t a $30 off-the-rack costume. Some cosplayers spend years and thousands of dollars to get their costumes just right. And cosplaying is not really a profession. The majority of these people have day jobs and do this incredible hobby in their spare time.
I’d love to cosplay. If I could afford it, I’d own a Star Trek: First Contact uniform, a Star Trek Monster Maroon, and a Battlestar Galactica commander’s uniform. I’d wear them for Halloween, and if i ever went to a convention. I’d even wear at them at home while watching the movies and TV shows. I would love to go in a full mask costume at a convention. I don’t know who as; but I think wearing a mask, not having anyone know who I am, would really give me the freedom and courage to really ‘get in character’ and enjoy myself.
Like sports fan wearing jerseys, fandom people should be proud of their particular show or book. If you can’t dress like Kirk every day, bring in a bit of your fandom when you can. Wear Starfleet insignia cufflinks. How about some TARDIS earrings? Use a sonic screwdriver ballpoint pen. Share your passions.